Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Feb 2014 16:49 UTC

Major scoop by Tom Warren.

Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans tell The Verge that the company is seriously considering allowing Android apps to run on both Windows and Windows Phone. While planning is ongoing and it's still early, we're told that some inside Microsoft favor the idea of simply enabling Android apps inside its Windows and Windows Phone Stores, while others believe it could lead to the death of the Windows platform altogether. The mixed (and strong) feelings internally highlight that Microsoft will need to be careful with any radical move.

Now, I have a very crazy theory about this whole thing. I obviously have no inside sources like Warren has, so load this image in another tab while reading this, but what if instead of this being an attempt to bridge the 'application gap', this is the first step in a Microsoft transition towards Android as a whole?

Much like the PC world, which eventually settled on two players, the mobile world has settled on two players: Android and iOS. It's the cold and harsh truth. Does it really make sense for Microsoft to focus all that energy on developing Windows Phone - not to a whole lot of avail so far - when they could just take Android, add their own services, and more importantly, their own very popular and ubiquitous enterprise software, and sell that instead? Microsoft actually started out as an application software provider, and not as an operating system vendor, so it's not like they would do something they're not comfortable with.

The biggest reason this crazy, unfounded theory came to my mind is that I simply cannot believe Microsoft would actually make it possible to run Android applications on Windows Phone. First, running Android applications on another platform is not exactly issue-free. Second, this has not exactly helped BlackBerry (and Sailfish, for that matter) either. Third, Windows Phone (and Windows 8 Metro) are already afterthoughts for developers, nothing more than mere side-projects in between iOS and Android work. Why would any of them develop native applications if they can just send their already completed APK to Microsoft? It'd be the death of Windows Phone and Metro.

Combined with the news that Nokia's Android phone is actually going to come out, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Microsoft is thinking about phasing out Windows Phone, with the ability to run Android applications on the platform as a first step in this migration.

There are major issues with such an approach, of course, not least of which the problem Amazon has also run into: no Google Play Services, meaning several popular applications won't run at all. If you're truly, truly outrageous, you could even consider a pact between Microsoft and Google, a combined effort that would take some possible antitrust heat off Google's back, and would give them a united front against Apple and iOS. Even this has precedent: unlike what some think, Microsoft and Apple have a long history of close cooperation. There's no reason Microsoft wouldn't do it again, if needed.

In any case, this is all very interesting stuff, and it shows just how much of a problem the lack of any presence in the mobile world has become for Microsoft. The new CEO has some very tough calls to make.

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RE[2]: The same could be said of IE
by japh on Thu 13th Feb 2014 06:53 UTC in reply to "RE: The same could be said of IE"
Member since:

If Sun had listened to developers then .NET would not exist. It really is that simple.

I recall from the old anti-trust trial that there were mails from Bill G himself stating that they needed to make sure that Java applications would offer a worse experience than native applications on windows, so it's not like Microsoft would have embraced Java, no matter how it looked.

They were scare that Java and platform independence would kill off the cash cow that was Windows. That's why they were scared of Netscape and Java and that's why Java was not something they'd get behind.

Reply Parent Score: 4

ze_jerkface Member since:

Microsoft couldn't choose to reject Java. The JRE installed like any other program.

Microsoft also didn't have to do anything to make Java programs look worse than native programs. Sun achieved that from day 1 by not using native controls. That isn't disputable, just read old reviews of popular Java applications and you will see that issue always came up.

Sun chose to not use native controls because it was against their vision of having Java completely decoupled from the operating system.

.NET would not exist if Java applications had looked and acted natively. You have to realize that .NET was the underdog, Microsoft could not have sold .NET as "like Java but not multiplatform" if Java didn't have flaws. Java was flawed because Sun was arrogant and wouldn't give into developers that wanted a native translation layer. Java applications were also easy to decompile and slow to launch. Throw on JRE compatibility headaches and it's easy to see why .NET was a success. It had nothing to do with Microsoft trying to conspire against poor wittle Sun and their billions of dollars and majority developer share.

Sun could have created a virtual machine or an intermediate layer that translated universal code to a native API. Nothing was stopping them and any company today can do the same. In fact there are numerous UI frameworks that do exactly that.

Edited 2014-02-13 07:22 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2